Targeted Advertising: A Simple Guide To Reaching Your Customers


Let’s face it: there are quite a few negative feelings around targeted advertising. This is not unjustified – consumers often complain that gathering information about their individual browsing behavior, such as site visits and searches, to optimally choose which ads to see is invasive and, some might say, “horrible.”

If done correctly, ad targeting can attract new customers, help keep existing ones, and improve your brand profile. Here’s how.

Where can I post targeted ads?

Brands have many options when it comes to publishing targeted ads. For customers who have opted for newsletters and offers, email is a great way to show ads to consumers who are already interested in your brand.

To reach a wider audience, marketers can pay for targeted ads that appear on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.

Other options include posting targeted ads to Google’s user search results or the Google Display Network, which reaches 90% internet users worldwide. Both fall under the larger Google Ads flag, and costs are based on the auction system. Marketers enter the maximum amount per click they are willing to pay for an ad, and Google then determines the price and position of the ad based on the overall ad quality and maximum bid. Worthless? Trademarks are only charged when someone clicks on your link.

So how do you make ad targeting work for your business? Here are 10 best practices to increase your ad performance.

1. Give consumers content they care about

Instead of telling customers what they already know, use targeted ads as an opportunity to provide consumers with new information and other offers that they may be interested in based on their previous shopping and browsing behavior. Make it clear to your customers that you care about them by offering them content that is carefully focused on what they would like to see in the ad.

Summary: Consumers want it new, fresh content .

2. Make it interesting

They call marketing “creative” because it should be exciting, eye-catching, and anything but boring. We all know that ads are easy to ignore, so a successful target ad must really stand out from the rest.

withdrawal: Make your ads appealing.

3. Set the frequency limit

You need to remember that properly targeting your ads should benefit your customers, but too much of this is likely to have the opposite effect. Think about the consumer’s perspective and think about how you would be bothered if you were constantly shown the same ad on dozens of different sites.

withdrawal: Don’t bombard your customers with ads.

4. Find the right place

Not every platform is an ideal place for your ads. While simple and streamlined ads make sense in Google’s search results, it’s worth taking the time to create more complex ads for Instagram. Facebook marketing campaigns where users are more likely to stop scrolling when they reach and click on your ad, either on a new page or to watch a video.

Summary: As with real estate, effective ad targeting depends on location, location, location.

5. Define your audience

The key to any targeted ad is to find your own target audience. If you show customers ads that don’t match their preferences, you won’t see the desired clickthrough rate. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your research: Find tools that allow you to create custom ads based on personal customer data and helping you see the bigger picture by identifying common characteristics of your audience.

Summary: Even the best ad won’t work on the wrong audience.

6. Don’t be too specific

On the other hand, it’s important to make your ads wide enough to capture a decent segment of your target market. For example, although we could create an ad specifically targeting red-haired men between the ages of 20 and 22 who live in Kansas and have gold diggers and drive electric cars, the specificity of this ad is so high that it is unlikely to appear on many social or. search sources and will not reach a large enough audience.

Summary: Effective marketing walks the line between targeted efforts and overly specific ads.

7. Think Outside the Box

Creating targeted campaigns means thinking about what your audience wants. Let’s say you own a real estate business and want to help clients sell their current homes or buy new ones. Your obvious target market is people looking for real estate agents in their area or checking housing prices in their neighborhood.

However, it is also worth considering parallel markets that are tied to your primary goal. When it comes to real estate, this can include finding relocation boxes, renting trucks and vans, or storage lockers that may indicate that customers are preparing to relocate. With non-standard thinking about including parallel markets, you can expand your reach without losing focus.

Summary: Targeted marketing relies on both depth of personalization and breadth of interest.

8. Test, Test, Test

Even the most orderly advertising efforts do not always go according to plan. Therefore, it is worth conducting regular A / B testing to determine which ads are best in certain scenarios and which cannot keep up. Once you identify the leaders, you can further customize them by constantly testing A / B to achieve the best return on investment.

Summary: For the first time, nothing works perfectly. Test your ads to improve their performance.

9. Throw a wide net

It is likely that one advertising platform will work best for a new campaign. Warning? You won’t know which one until you try them all. While it’s not worth spending your entire advertising budget to cover the internet with new marketing efforts, it’s worth dipping your finger into multiple advertising platforms to see what sticks.

Summary: Wide nets allow you to figure out where customers are swimming and tailor tactics to suit you.

10. Measure your impact

If the ads are seen and clicks come in, then everything will go according to plan, right? Maybe, maybe not. To ensure that targeted ads deliver dividends, it is crucial to identify key performance metrics and measure these metrics regularly to ensure that your ads meet expectations. For example, you could measure the total value of conversions against the cost of a targeted marketing campaign to see if the numbers add up.

Summary: Follow the numbers to make sure your advertising spend makes sense.

It’s one thing to read about best practices, it’s another to see them in action. To make it easier to imagine what effective ad targeting looks like, we’ve put together seven great examples.

1. The New York Times

Examples of targeted ads: The New York Times

This ad works because it targets a specific audience segment – people over the age of 20 – and offers helpful tips for their health. Of course, there’s a part of this segment that won’t respond because they’re not worried about health habits, but those who click are willing to collaborate with targeted content served.

And while Facebook’s responses show a number of “crazy” faces, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it shows that the ad is attracting user interest.

2. Nom Nom

Examples of targeted ads: Nom Nom

This ad targets a high-spending group: pet owners. It also includes a customer statement to help convince viewers that it’s worth clicking and finding out what’s on offer.

It is also worth mentioning the slogan in the lower left part of the ad – “the only such dog food”. This is a great claim, but it has a good chance of attracting the interest of the target audience. And if the claim is supported when they click, there is a high chance of conversion.

3. Looseness

Examples of targeted ads: Slack

Pandemic pressures have made it clear that companies need to find better ways to do their jobs. One of the biggest killers of productivity? Meetings. That’s why this targeted Slack ad works – the campaign offers the potential for 25% fewer meetings as it improves communication within the company. Although this type of ad requires the involvement of business decision makers, if enough staff see and mention the ad, it can create significant business traction.

4. Tension

Examples of targeted ads: Tentsile

Who knew that tree tents and hammocks on trees were something? Probably not most people. This is the genius of this ad – while targeting a smaller market segment looking for the “best” tree nets, as well as a wider net, by introducing the concept of overhead tent products to a wider group of users.

Even better, it promises insight into “real and counterfeit” products, giving visitors the opportunity to see what the difference is with a click.

5. 360Learning

Examples of targeted ads: 360Learning

To say something doesn’t work in an ad is a risky bet – unless you can back it up. It’s the idea of ​​this 360Learning ad that argues that Netflix-style learning can’t address current distance and online learning problems.

The e-book promise is a good way to encourage users to click, and as long as useful information is available, it’s a good start to engaging with customers that could lead to more sales.

6. Jewelers Kay

Examples of targeted ads: Key jewelers

The picture above is enough to give an idea of ​​what is going on – the dog brings the owner a piece of jewelry, thanks to a partner. The actual Facebook ad is a video that shows the owner happily receiving the gift and conveys a sense of love, family and connection well.

Perhaps more importantly, no other context is needed to understand the video. There is no text other than the Kay logo and slogan, and no sound is needed to break down the action. Here, emotions are the target and the ad hits home.

7. Peloton

Examples of targeted ads: Peloton

Peloton had a remarkable year in 2020, but as pandemic pressures begin to ease, the interactive bike maker is experiencing a slowdown in growth. This targeted ad appeals to those who are interested in the bike, but are intimidated by its high price.

By offering a 100-day home trial with the option to return the bike for a full refund at the end of the test, Peloton wants to capture and transform a historically hesitant part of its audience by giving them a chance to experience product risk. -prost.

Hit the Bullseye

Not every ad will land exactly as expected of your audience. But with targeted advertising efforts that follow best practices and remember the key rule of ad targeting – give your customer what they want – you can avoid criticism of the “horrible”, attract customer attention and increase conversions.

Editor’s note: This publication was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for completeness.

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Originally posted May 27, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated May 27, 2022


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